One of the country's top literary festivals wrote its latest chapter Sunday in Downtown Brooklyn, with some well-known authors and writers on the bill. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
It was a wet and windy morning but that didn't stop bookworms from flocking to Boro Hall for the fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival. With some 250 authors participating -- from Salman Rushdie to Paul Krugman to Venus Williams -- it's clear reading is still very much in vogue.
"Fashion week? Ah, come on! Fashions come and go, but the written word will be here forever," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
The borough boasts a literary tradition that includes Walt Whitman and Norman Mailer -- and the tradition continues.
"The concentration of creative talent in this borough, not only the writers themselves, but the publishers and the editors and all of the people who create book culture are all...I mean, they're all here in Brooklyn, so the amount of talent that we're able to pull together in one place is what's makes it incredible," said Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of Greenlight Books.
"There's lots of great poets. I feel like sometimes there's a poet on every corner. I mean I meet poets that I know that of course I respect walking down the streets of Brooklyn all the time," said poet Terrance Hayes.
Greenlight books, which opened last year in Fort Greene, seems to be bucking a trend. At a time when bookstores across the country are closing their doors, new shops keep popping up in Brooklyn.
"The libraries are always packed. The book fair. People are out in the rain. I think that speaks to how incredibly important it is to read in Brooklyn," said one borough resident.
Not even Brooklyn's tiniest tenants could resist the allure of curling up with a good book at the festival.
"They love books. They love holding them. They love hearing the rhythm of them and seeing the pictures," said one Brooklyn resident.
"We live in Brooklyn in an apartment but I want him to know about fields and houses and countries and different places and I think books open your horizons," said another.
From picture books to comic books, fiction or nonfiction, the Brooklyn Book Festival proves there's an audience out there -- an audience willing to listen to poetry in the rain, despite all the other distractions available to them.
"Books have a hard time competing in a media-saturated culture and its important to show people books are alive and well," said one festival participant.
For more information, visit brooklynbookfestival.org.